Month: August 2012

a letter to each of you

This is wonderfully written and the best thing I’ve seen come from the aftermath of Senator Akin’s disgusting remarks. Here’s the text, if you have problems clicking on source links.

I’m sure you’ve seen it in the news today. The headlines are everywhere and my Twitter feed is decorated with rants from various people I follow: a man running for senate named Todd Akin used the term “legitimate rape” when asked about abortion legality. He has also used a modifier in the past, stating the phrase “forcible rape”. It is clear that the reality of “rape is rape” is lost on him.

Stepping away from the abortion debate, I wanted to address this because I know how upsetting it was to read that headline at first. My heart sunk. For ten seconds, I felt a mixture of anger and sadness and frustration, as if all of the work I put into this topic just continues to fade into the ignorance of others. It’s easy to settle into the feeling of never getting anywhere if you let yourself stay that way. But I’m not like that, and I don’t want anyone else to feel that way either. Maybe I’m hopelessly optimistic. But from my experience, that’s the only way I know how to try to change the world.

So this letter is for you, whoever you are. The survivor. The sister or brother or mother or father or friend of a survivor. The activist. The person who tirelessly answers the sexual assault hotline. The shelter volunteer. The police officer, the lawyer, the judge. The person who simply feels passionate about this. Although it may seem like the opposite, Mr. Akin’s words aren’t actually setting us back. In fact, with each ignorant comment made by someone, and each time it gets into the media outlets, the topic of rape and sexual assault is becoming less and less of a taboo. For every person like Mr. Akin who says something along those lines, there are thousands – millions – of others crying in outrage. And there are even more who are finally realizing the gravity of the issue.

We are getting there. The silence is ending. Please don’t lose hope.

With love, gratitude, and optimism,


Gut Reaction Review – The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole

The Wind Through the KeyholeLast night I finished the final (maybe?) entry in Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” series entitled, “The Wind Through The Keyhole” (TWTTK). TWTTK is the 8th book in the series and takes place between the fourth and fifth books, however, it does not need to be read in the correct order. If you have finished the series, you can jump right into this book.

As a Dark Tower book, it’s kind of a let down. But as a Stephen King book, it’s quite good. To my first point, I was extremely excited to read another tale with Roland’s full ka-tet. Susannah, Jake, Eddie, and Oy are some of my favorite characters ever and while King has, through comics and short story collections, continued to expand the Dark Tower story, the rest of his group have only been in the core novels. Unfortunately, they are barely in this novel due to how it is structured. This goes to my second point. TWTTK is a great Stephen King book because it is a series of short stories, and King’s books of short stories are outstanding.

The spoiler-free synopsis is that while traveling between the events of Book 4 and Book 5, Roland and his ka-tet encounter a starkblast, which is best described as a cold-weather hurricane. While riding out the starkblast in safety, Roland tells his ka-tet a tale of when he hid from a starkblast when he was a younger gunslinger. When he encounters a starkblast in that tale, we get to learn of a different starkblast tale that Roland told the boy he was with at the time of that starkblast. It is here that we get to TWTTK’s central story of Tim Ross and his journey to save a loved one. Tim Ross’ short story is very good and could easily have been a stand-alone short story in one of King’s collections. Wrapping it in a Dark Tower book is an unnecessary, but still welcome, little treat.

Even if you are not a fan of the Dark Tower series (shame on you), there is a lot to love in “The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole”. The harrowing tale of a young boy on a quest to save someone very dear to him is an incredible short story and a modern day version of a classic fairy tale (but with some adult themes) in it’s own right. This is not a stereotypical book from “horror master” Stephen King, but it’s not a stereotypical Dark Tower book from him either. The bottom line is that it’s a great fantasy novel that can be appreciated by someone who is not Dark Tower-obsessed like I am.